Slieve Donard Resort & Spa, Newcastle, County Down

DMC: Moloney & Kelly
LOCATIONS: Down & Wicklow
DELEGATES: 3 groups of 160
CLIENT: Maritz

Every year, Maritz delivers many incentive programmes around the world, curating a range of exclusive experiences designed to motivate and reward their clients’ employees. Ireland has proven a popular choice in the past, but this year the brief to Moloney & Kelly requested something truly impressive to foster a spirit of camaraderie and fun.

The Countryside Escapes incentive programme was developed by Moloney & Kelly around some of Northern Ireland’s most stunning locations and exceptional hotels, each one providing its own kind of ‘wow’ factor.

Mourne Mountains

After their arrival into Dublin Airport, guests made the short 90-minute journey northwards to the stunning Slieve Donard Resort and Spa in County Down. One of their very first impressions of the memorable experience they were about to embark on was the beautiful vista of the Mountains of Mourne, sweeping down to the sea.

Hillsborough Castle

The following day, guests were given private access to the residence of the Queen in Northern Ireland, Hillsborough Castle. After soaking in the grandeur of this historic landmark in total exclusivity, they spent a leisurely evening in Newcastle, a charming seaside resort in County Down.

Titanic Belfast

The pace picked up on day three, with the opportunity to spend a full day exploring the many cosmopolitan and historic delights of the city of Belfast. Guests chose from a range of fascinating options, including the world-famous Titanic Belfast (voted the World’s Leading Visitor Attraction 2017), the Panoramic Tour of the city and the unique Black Taxi Tour.

Winterfell at Castle Ward

That night, a glorious feast was prepared for the group at Winterfell Castle, as seen in Game of Thrones®; the majestic Castle Ward in County Down doubles up as a film location used in one of the most watched TV shows in the world. Guests were immersed in a medieval world with Game of Thrones® -themed activities and costumes (the throne itself proved extremely popular for selfies.) It was a highlight of an experience that took in the true scope of luxurious incentive opportunities that Northern Ireland can provide.

Client feedback on Countryside Escapes was universally positive, with repeat visits in the pipeline. Guests particularly appreciated the opportunity to pre-clear U.S Customs and Border Control at Dublin Airport — arriving back as domestic passengers into the U.S and enjoying shorter flight connections, less hassle and stress on their return.

Amy Marxer, Maritz Meeting and Event Manager, commented: “Our client chose Newcastle in Northern Ireland based on its proximity to the sea and the city. The groups were able to enjoy the beauty of the seaside in Newcastle and the excitement and history of Belfast all within the same trip.”